Brisket for Mother’s Day (Trial #6)

I’ve been smoking more briskets since I got a Traeger grill. I’ve been keeping track of what I’m doing and the results, iterating until I get something I like and can work with.

For Mother’s Day 2023, Mrs. Hsoi wanted a brisket. Of course I obliged.


This is not my first brisket, but it’s my first time (in a long time?) writing about this. So I want to give some backstory. If you don’t care, scroll down.

I live in Texas. Brisket is king of BBQ. I have smoked many a brisket on past setups: my heavily-modified Weber kettle, a modified New Braunfels “Hondo”, even the Weber Genesis 330 (to poor results – chips pale in comparison to stick). I resisted the idea of electric and/or pellet grills and smokers for a long time. Then while working for Oven Bits, I helped bring the original Traeger “Wi-Fire” product to market (a short stint on their iOS app, plus firing up the first “water through the pipes” prototype). For a long time I couldn’t justify the price. When we moved out of Austin, for my first birthday in the new house I bought a Traeger.

I picked the Ironwood 650. I didn’t want to go for broke because I wasn’t sure if I was sold on this notion, so no Timberline (top) for me. I also wanted Super Smoke, so no Pro line (bottom) for me. Ironwood (mid) it is then. I always loved the notion of “Super Smoke” since we got the first controller prototype and saw that Super Smoke button. 🔥 I wasn’t sure tho if 650 or 885. Buddy of mine from work is married with 4 kids – he sent me a pic of his 650-sized Traeger full of burgers. OK, I could do that. I did that, and now I have an 885 for more square footage. I mean, if it was just the wife and me, a 650 would be fine. I do like the size of the 885 tho, because well… you really shouldn’t put things all the way to the edges of the grate, because then drip lands not on the tray but the barrel, and fires can be a thing. Ask me how I know.

I must say… I do love the Traeger grill.

I agree the smoke flavor isn’t as deeply intense as stick. However, it’s present and IMHO good (enough). I like that I get wood flavoring without the strong bitters. I find this complements the meat MUCH better. If you have good meat, I find with good pairing this allows much more complementary work between the wood/smoke and food/meat.

I have good meat. I buy from Diamond A Ranch Beef in Dime Box, Texas. I have bought from many a butcher, store, and local rancher. I have never experienced beef as good as Diamond A. The intramuscular marbling, the texture. Just unbeatable. I buy a side.

When it comes to pellets, I’ve learned something. Texas BBQ is in part what it is because of the oak wood used. Texas has mesquite and pecan, but oak is king for BBQ. Around here it’s post oak in specific. But oak in pellet form? Not so much. Also Mrs. Hsoi usually doesn’t jive with mesquite because it can overpowering. In pellet form? It’s not that overpowering and is one of the stronger performers. Hickory too as a solid all-around pellet. I did see that B&B makes a post oak pellet, so I think I’d like to try that to see if there’s any difference in using post oak in specific.

But hey… I love the Traeger. I love the fueling. I love the controlled temperature. I do find the ability to monitor and control via my phone to be useful. I love the results. I love the ability to turn out pretty consistent product.

Trial #6

I haven’t done a lot of briskets on my Traeger because they are expensive. I have done a bunch of other types of meat tho, such as picanha, ribs, turkey, many steaks, tri-tip… I like keeping track of what I do so I can hone in a technique. What you see here is iterative improvements/changes from the prior 5 trials. So let’s see what comes from #6.

Started with a 14 lb brisket from Diamond A Ranch Beef. Full brisket. Took it out of the freezer Friday morning, sat on the counter all day to defrost. By evening it was defrosted so into the fridge it went. Saturday around noon pulled it out. Seasoned:

  • Trimmed excess fat, silver skin. Clean it up. Came in just under 12 lb.
  • Wet the entire surface of the brisket with Worcestershire sauce – don’t drown it, just make sure the surface is damp. It’s more a wetting agent than a seasoning (but if I gotta wet it, might as well season it vs say plain water).
  • Apply dry rub:
    • kosher salt, 3/4 tsp per pound
    • black pepper, 1/2 tsp per pound
    • smoked paprika, 1/4 tsp per pound
  • Wrap in plastic wrap. Put back into the fridge until cooking time. (in this case, 12-15 hours or so)

Started cooking around midnight. Weather was rainy (it’s been rainy, and thus humid), 71º.

  • Traeger Ironwood 885
    • NB: On Saturday, I took the time to clean the Traeger (vacuum out ash, clean grate, dump drip bucket, etc.). A clean grill yields better results and is safer to operate. Ask me how I know.
  • Traeger Texas Beef Blend pellets
    • A blend of mesquite, oak, and pecan.
    • I don’t think they make this any more. I’m using my supply up.
    • If I had to pick one, I’d say go mesquite.
  • Took the brisket out of the fridge, set on counter.
  • Start up the Traeger at 200º
    • Super Smoke ON
  • Once grill temp settles, remove the brisket from the plastic and set on grate.
    • Grate is in the upper position.
    • Fat side up
  • Insert probe (make sure it goes into meat, not fat)
  • Set timer for first checkpoint.
  • Close the lid and let it do its thing.

I usually like doing my first checkpoint at 3 hours. However, because I was attempting to interleave sleep, it went 4 hours. This is the first time I crack the lid since it went on. It looks good, a little dry (4 hours). So I get out the Worcestershire, sprinkle it all over the top, use a silicone brush to spread it around to coat/cover (didn’t flip and do the bottom – not worried about that; didn’t want to lose any more heat than I had to, nor disturb the meat too much). Closed the lid.

Meat temp was about 130-140º depending.

Around 7:00am started raining hard. Also hit about 150º and seemed the stall was starting.


It got to about 9:30am, only like 153º or so. Stalled out. I do like to sit at the stall for a little bit – it’s good for it.

So after about 9.5 hours I wrapped it in butcher paper and put it back on.

Turned the Traeger up to 275º (and Super Smoke automatically switched off).


I pulled it around 12:30pm. I had a probe alarm set for 195º and it hit it. Used about half a hopper of pellets start to finish.

Left it wrapped on the kitchen counter for a little over an hour. No peaking.

Separated the point and the flat. Cut into the flat.

It was quite good. I am upset I didn’t take more pictures, but I know why! It was just too good. I just wanted to savor the food – it was focused on food, not pictures of it.

Deep smoke ring. Flavor from the wood was evident, yet the superb beef flavor shined strong. Tender and moist – intramuscular marbling is fantastic. Just so happy here.


  • I had been forgetting the Worcestershire sauce. I remembered this time. It makes a difference.
  • Texas Beef Blend is really good.
    • Mesquite in pellet has turned out to be one of my favorites.
  • I do like my rub. It’s simple, it works.
  • Landing on 200º Super Smoke, then wrapped at 275º. That’s working well for not taking for years, making it tender, keeping it moist. Hitting stall maybe 6-7 hours in, about 9 hours in wrap it, about 12-13 hours total.
    • Curious how much the weather played a part (70-something and humid)

All in all quite happy with the results.

I think if there’s anything I’d like to poke at next time would be pure mesquite pellets, or if I get those B&B post oak to try that. It would be a slight change. Plus, being only slight it would allow trial #7 to see about ability to replicate results.

A small upgrade to the Ruger LCR .22

All the better to see you with, my dear… to better watch the rectangle become a square.

While the white ramp from the factor isn’t a bad front sight, the white isn’t the most contrasting of colors against all backgrounds. Fluorescent orange on the other hand…

My J-frames have orange ramps, so I’m hip to the concept and it was my first thought. But I did want to see what options existed in the aftermarket for the LCR. In the end my search didn’t yield much that I liked: made of plastic, sharp edges ripe for snagging, etc. And after some talking with Darryl Bolke and Rhett Neumayer to see if I missed any products, I ended up back where I started going with the orange ramp.

Used an appliance touch-up paint marker to lay down a white undercoat (a couple coats). Then a couple coats of Testors orange fluorescent paint. Done.

And now when aiming it’s much easier to see… not just see the front sight, but see when the rectangle becomes a square…

Why the LCR .22 LR?

In response to my article Why I’m carrying a Ruger LCR .22 LR, commenters were curious why in particular the LCR .22 LR?

Listening to those smarter than me

When I hear guys like Chuck Haggard, Darryl Bolke, Rhett Neumayer talk… I listen. Much good heard about the LCR.


I don’t have lots of revolvers, but every one I have is a Smith. (well, there’s that Cimarron I have for demoing single-action revolvers to students; which I got a Texas Jack’s in Fredericksburg). So to get a Ruger was nice for the simple variety.


Yeah, the 351 C and the 43 C. I wanted to try the LCR. I have an LCP II and… it’s cool but too small for me to operate well.

Plus the Ruger’s cheaper.

Scuttlebutt is the Ruger’s more reliable.

Smiths I want to care for; I want to hand them down. The Ruger, given how it’s built I’m happy to subject it to the sweat of the Texas summer… it’s a tool.

.22 LR

Why not?

I gave up being a caliber snob.

Not everyone is me. Not everyone is you.

Cool. You can sub-2 Bill Drill with your Roland. Congratulations, your dick is much bigger than arthritic grandma’s. 🙂

My change of mind was my aging Realtor. The job of Realtor can be dangerous: intentionally taking strangers into other people’s homes… why should grandma with the weak and arthritic hands not have SOME chance of defending herself? She’s not out to go hunting, she just doesn’t want to die at the hands of some dude in a strange house, y’know? If all she could manage was a little .22 Derringer, fuck it – it’s better than nothing!

It’s one reason I’m glad Texas removed the minimum caliber restriction for getting a License to Carry (LTC). I understand why they that existed; still the side-effect was it shut out people like my Realtor. So I’m glad it was removed.

If self-defense is a human right, she deserves every opportunity just as much as the young and able-bodied.

But yes, I get it. .22 LR kinda sucks. Still, like Tam said:

Putting a few into a dude’s snotbox at three to five yards is bound to have an effect, rimfire or not.

Tamara Keel, Practical Popguns

Modern .22 LR ammo has come a long ways. I’ve been shooting almost exclusively Federal Punch, and it’s been mostly trouble-free. A couple hard extractions, but that’s all (I probably need to clean my cylinders). Punch passes the FBI tests. I have shot Velocitor. It runs alright, I just have only so much and it’s scarce… not enough to run through to build up and do. I can get lots of Punch, and even practice with that load. There’s also something in the bullet construction that differentiates Punch (look at things other than weight…).

I do want to practice. I need to practice. Dot Torture is good. 5^5. The Wizard. Passing my own Minimum Competency Assessment. 3 Seconds or Less. Start there.


Everything’s a trade-off somewhere, somehow.

For my context, this provides me the right balance of things. The Underwear Gun is a thing. I’m certain down the road context will change and so my choices may (need to) change as well. Between now and then I will learn.

I have been playing with the PHLster Enigma Express for the LCR… and let me just say, this is actually comfortable…

Why I’m carrying a Ruger LCR .22 LR

I’ve been carrying a Ruger LCR .22 LR since November 2022. Why? Necessity, then interest.


September 5, 2022 I was dumbbell bench pressing the 95s. I start going down for rep 7 and something felt weird in my left wrist. I immediately stopped. I don’t know how to describe it, but… something… shifted? All those little bones in your wrist (carpal bones); if you know what the carpal bones look like, just imagine something… shifting, getting compacted by 95# of steel. Yeah. Makes you wince, doesn’t it?

I went shooting soon thereafter. Shot my P365XL with the Wilson grip and inserts. After 100 rounds I couldn’t stand it – the pain was too much.

I’ve been hangin’ with a few guys into revolvers (GuG, Hizzie). I mean, “the underwear gun” is a thing. And with the stuff Rhett‘s been doing. Well… I figured now’s a good time detour and play with this concept.

Yes, the LCR is hard to shoot it because it’s lightweight with a heavy-ass trigger, craptacular snub-sights. But I can shoot it… a lot. I can even shoot Federal Punch (my defensive load) and not feel bad about the money.

My wrist is getting better. No, I don’t think it will ever be the same. In fact, as I write this, something happened and getting up from the dinner table last night the wrist complained hard at me. But I can wrap my wrists and lift weights (straight pressure is ok, it’s angled-wrist – like I could do a push-up from knuckles not palms. Getting up from the table had a bent wrist). And I could probably shoot my other guns but… I’m kinda enjoying exploring this.


Not gonna lie. I just don’t always want to wear a gun. That whole “a gun’s supposed to be comforting, not comfortable”? Well, sometimes I want to be comfortable (don’t you?). A big-ass Roland Special in my crotch isn’t the epitome of comfort. 😂 But I get it. As I said, underwear gun is a thing. Mark wrote:

A reliable gun with a trigger I can use, sights I can see, with a weight that can be held by a pair of drawstring gym shorts, and with support gear that doesn’t require a belt. Caliber is irrelevant for this gun.

Definition of an Underwear Gun – The Evolution of the Underwear Gun

Drawstring gym shorts. Dude… that’s what I wear all day. I’m on Zoom all day – pants don’t matter. 🙂

Federal Punch. 14.85 oz.

There’s things about the LCR .22 that appeal to me:

  • I can shoot it without pain (.22 LR, negligible felt recoil)
  • It is small in size – unobtrusive on my body, in feel and appearance.
  • It weighs about a pound, full loaded… a smidge more if in a holster (and every ounce matters in this context)
  • It has a capacity of 8 rounds, which is pretty good all things considered.
  • Modern ammunition like Federal Punch change the game for .22 LR.
  • I like the “plastic” construction. It’ll hold up better to sweat and stuff, which is a thing with Texas summers.
  • I have no real attachment to the gun, it’s not some treasured heirloom nor will it ever be. It’s made to be a functional machine/tool (see comment about sweat).

And so, I’ve been carrying it. In fact, I’m now looking at picking up another. I have been carrying it in a City Special. I just ordered an Enigma Express for it, as well as an Apollo.

Playing around with grips. Don’t care for finger grooves. Rubber hangs up clothing. Rogers is great (minimal grooves, pinky, textured yet smooth hard plastic), but it’s a little big, especially for pocket carry. The Hogue Black Rubber Bantam Boot Tamer Cushion Grip without Finger Grooves contains my acceptable trade-offs: slim, small, conceals well in pocket or on torso, no clothing hang-ups, ok no pinky but it is .22, can still shoot the gun acceptably.

Factory. Rogers. Hogue.

Look… I’m at a point in my life where I’m not so interested in hunting. I just want people to leave me and mine alone. One block I loved from TacCon23 was Darryl Bolke’s “Mousegun Mindset”. Darryl frequently refers to guns of this type as “rule 1” guns (i.e. what’s the first rule of a gun fight? have a gun.). His block provided excellent perspective on tools, modes, and mindsets of carry with regards to so-called sub-optimal guns. It resonated well with where I’m at. For example, my wife will never go hunting for bad guys, but getting the rapist off of her is another matter.

Plus, it’s a new challenge. Something different to pursue. I know revolvers are becoming hip again. I don’t care about that. I was provided an opportunity (my wrist injury) and I’m answering the door, opening it to exploration. So far I dig it.

That said, I haven’t been putting in the work. Re-reading Mark’s writing provided me with some direction. While I do have access to the KR Training A-Zone Range, it’s still an hour drive. There is a small indoor range in town, and something like working Dot Torture from the ready is do-able and beneficial. I need to take better advantage of this. As I settle more into the new job, I may have the flexibility to make this happen.

It’s also been interesting to TEACH with this on my hip. I generally always teach with and for semi-auto since that’s 99.9% of students. It’s been surprisingly non-issue.

I’ll see where this goes…


📷 Tim Reedy; making me look good during my AIWB Skills block.

My third TacCon has come and gone. What a marvelous time!

What made it extra special for me was Mrs. Hsoi joined me, as a guest of Lynn & Tom. As we embark on 27 years of marriage, to have TacCon23 as an anchor and milestone in our journey of “just the 2 of us” is a heck of a way to start!


I presented 3 blocks: 2 AIWB Skills (2-hour live fire) and The Aftermath (2-hour lecture, with Lee Weems and Erick Gelhaus). Beyond that, I was at the Mrs’ disposal. We took classes with Tom Givens, Massad Ayoob, John Holschen, Darryl Bolke (who really perked the Mrs’ interest on the topic of “Mouse Gun Mindset”), Lou Ann Hamblin, Erick Gelhaus, Lee Weems. All people well worth learning from. I will call out Darryl’s block, because yeah… having your head screwed on right is primary. It was a game-changer for the Mrs.

Karl and I have revised our book: Strategies and Standards for Defensive Handgun Training for 2023. We sold out of the first print run at TacCon, with more on the way!

Talking with John Farnam about the Barami Hip Grip. 📷 Jamie Meyer.

I’m still carrying the LCR .22LR in a City Special on an EDC Belt Co. Consequently I didn’t compete in the match. One, I didn’t want to complicate things for Martin and Julie. Two, “leave the Mrs alone on the sidelines” was not in my SOP for the weekend, dig?

I proposed to Karl that we do a joint class (lecture and/or live fire) at TacCon24… we shall see.


This was Mrs Hsoi’s first TacCon – into the deep end with the Rangemaster Family!

She was understandably nervous about attending. Lots of people-ing, with people she knows because I have spoken their name to her. Lots more gunfire than she’s used to hearing. Being away from the house, being comfortable. Being able to sleep (sometimes my snoring is too much; I booked a double-queen suite to try to help). Lots of stress and worries. As the event grew closer, she flipped her script, adopted a “I get to spend time with my honey” mindset, and while a lot of work, it was good. We took the van because there was a lot of stuff to pack and bring (including Spam… 😋).

AIWB Skills live fire. 📷 Jamie Meyer.

The rain on Day 1 didn’t help, but it also was cute because she had a head-to-shins-covering vinyl rain coat in her signature yellow. Caleb & Lisa Causey (familiar faces) were joking about mustard and “Did you get that at Academy?” “No… Prada.” 💅 All of the hugs and laughter helped her feel welcome. And Kristin… oh, you and the Mrs. bonded in a unique way. 😂 The welcome, open, and loving arms that immediately embraced her, taking her in. The inappropriate jokes, the voracious laughter, the abundance of hugs. It was jumping into the deep end, but hey… she got Tim Chandler to almost snort his drink out of his nose! I think she can hang. 😂

It was special on another level. We continue to embark on a new phase in our life, of it being about “just the 2 of us” (Bill Withers singing). This was the first time in ages we have taken an excursion just the two of us. Life’s been about the kids and the whole family for… ever. Oldest recently moved out. Daughter and Youngest in the next 1-3 years. So, we are doing more together. It’s a shift, a good shift, but a shift nonetheless; it requires work, commitment, dedication, flexibility, iteration. But hey, I get to do it with her, and that’s alright. It’s a lot of fun. Adventure is out there! 😎 To have TacCon23 as a milestone, even an anchor point in our continued journey through this thing that they call life? It’s pretty fucking cool. I love you, B. Thank you for being the biggest part of my life.

He looks like a bitch

“I had the dumb idea [and thought] hey, this guy looks robbable. He looks like, no offense, a b—-. I got a knife and drill, so why not? Like, if anything is possible, why not do something bad? But it backfired, and things didn’t go the way I wanted them to because he had someone else with him,” she was quoted telling police. 

The woman has been charged with aggravated robbery with a deadly weapon.

Facebook Marketplace seller attacked with knife while trying to sell PlayStation

There is much we can learn.

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Austin police have charged a 19-year-old woman with a felony for allegedly pulling a knife on a man Tuesday after she agreed to buy his PlayStation 4 on Facebook Marketplace, according to police documents. 

Austin. There’s your first clue.

19-year-old woman. Not what comes to mind when you think of someone willing to knife and kill you over a fucking game console. Your life is worth that little to her. 19-years-old. Woman.

The victim arrived at the agreed-upon location with a friend, where he found the interested buyer. The victim put the product on the ground, and moments later, the buyer pulled a knife to his neck. A struggle to get control of the weapon ensued, and the victim’s friend exited the vehicle and attempted to help. 

The three were entangled in a struggle when the friend saw something that looked like a gun. Fortunately, the friend realized the “gun” was a drill. It was at that point that both the victim and his friend fled with his PlayStation, according to the arrest warrant affidavit. 

Good he brought a friend.

Entangled fight… with weapons in play. I thought that shit never happens on the street…?

Fortunately… I guess? But still, from the attacker’s own mouth she knew it was a drill but was counting on the fact it’s gun-shaped. Intent.

When the PlayStation seller returned home, he realized that the woman who allegedly attacked him dropped her wallet in the Playstation box during the altercation. He called the police and reported her, the documents said. 

Lucky for them. And lucky for us, because we get gem quotes like this:

APD took the accused into custody and asked why she attacked the PlayStation seller. 

“I had the dumb idea [and thought] hey, this guy looks robbable. He looks like, no offense, a b—-. I got a knife and drill, so why not? Like, if anything is possible, why not do something bad? But it backfired, and things didn’t go the way I wanted them to because he had someone else with him,” she was quoted telling police. 

The woman has been charged with aggravated robbery with a deadly weapon.

She knew it was dumb. But obviously, this notion has crossed her mind in the past. She’s been evaluating people for a while. She’s not dumb, just naive and fresh.

And she played predator and evaluated prey. The dude looked like a bitch to her. Let that sink in.

Why did she do it? For the thrill for it all.

Your life is a game to her. Robbing and killing you is a “hit of dope” to her. It’s not even worth $200 for a Playstation.

But it shows that interrupting or flipping their script is an important element of gaining advantage. This happened when the 19-year-old pulled the knife, then when the victim’s friend jumped in. Work to gain advantage (process focus).

She will eventually be back out on the streets… will she do it again? and again? and again?

As Dr. Aprill would say, “They are not like you.”

Stay dangerous. Be strong.

(h/t JJ for the article)

Learnings from the Wichita Falls stabbing

WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — A man, who Wichita Falls Police said got into an argument with a store clerk and then stabbed a customer who tried to intervene, is in custody.

Full Story

There is much to learn from this story.

Let’s start with the opening line: got into an argument with the clerk and stabbed a customer who chose to intervene. As Tom Hogel says to me, “No good deed goes unpunished.” I addressed this topic in last week’s Personal Tactics Skills class. Intervention isn’t always the right answer; in fact, most times it’s the wrong answer. I understand the urge, the drive to respond – especially when you see an injustice committed. I’m not saying to not respond. What I am saying is you need to know where your line is drawn. What are you willing to die for? Are you willing to die for a rando store clerk? Maybe you are, maybe you are not. This is a personal decision. I don’t care where you draw your line (it’s your line, not mine) – I just want you to ensure you have a clear, well-defined, articulable line. If you don’t have one right now, you need to get one right now. Because if you intervene, you risk death – what are you willing to die for?

When WFPD officers arrived at the 7-Eleven at 2012 Grant just after 3 a.m. Wednesday morning, March 1, they said the victim was holding napkins and applying pressure to a bleeding wound in her neck.

7-Eleven – gas stations are the urban water hole, because everyone – good citizen and bad – needs gas for their car.

3 a.m.

Stabbed in the neck. Her neck. Medical skills are important.

She told them she was buying items when [Alejandro Villanueva (27)] came into the store and began arguing with the clerk. The victim and a witness said Villanueva left, then came back and began arguing with the clerk again.

Arguing. That’s not a good sign.

Leaving, then returning to continue arguing. That’s an even worse sign.

Why did he leave, and why did he come back? What did he perhaps get? And if he was arguing, coming back… why is he doing that? High tempers. My dudes, these are signs of trouble – what good can come of this? Big red alarm bells should be going off in your head.

Time to go. Drop your groceries and leave. Be prepared for stupid to go down (and that you might get caught up in it, like it or don’t).

The witness said he left a second time, and returned once more and began yelling at the clerk.

Leaving a second time, and returning a third to continuing arguing. That’s the worst sign.

Why are you still there? It’s either voyeurism or just frozen with disbelief – no plan of what to do, not seeing it for what it is. Third time’s a charm right? Believe what you are seeing. Why it is happening you can try to figure out later (and realize you may never know why); right now it doesn’t matter why it’s happening – it’s happening and you need to act.

The witness said the customer stepped in and told Villanueva to leave, and he began to yell at her. The customer said she told him if he did not calm down and stop confronting the clerk and leave, she would go get her gun in her car.

When in the history of telling people to “just calm down” has anyone ever calmed down? 🙃

If someone has demonstrated themselves not just irrational but irrational and irate, please believe them! Your attempt to apply rational logic and behavior will not be met with the response you are hoping for.

Then he turns his attention to her, increasing aggression. More customer begging and pleading – she doesn’t want to shoot him, she doesn’t want to hurt him. I can understand that, just the approach being taken isn’t (and wasn’t) effective for her to obtain the result she’s hoping for (expecting?). As the late Dr. William Aprill said, “They are not like you.”

A gun. First, why is it in the car? Your car is not a holster. Second, why it is not on her person? A gun you must retrieve is often of little use.

Most of all, why did you do this? The (threat of) introduction of a gun into the equation escalated the situation. She was hoping the threat would end it, but there’s always someone willing to take you up on your offer…

She said Villanueva came at her and began pushing her with his chest, and she pushed him away but he kept coming at her, and that is when she felt a sharp pain in her neck and fell back into the door and ran outside.

I’m sorry that happened. It was preventable. However, everyone has to have a first time, a time to learn. Let’s all learn from this.

Police located a truck matching the descriptions in the 1000 block of Wenonah and found Villanueva standing by it and took him into custody. They said he had a large folding knife with a brown handle on his person.

Officers said he told them he had been in fear for his life because the victim said she had a gun.

Interesting angle there, son. Now, as a “reasonable man”, I would say Ability, Opportunity, and Jeopardy are NOT present if for nothing else the knowledge he possessed about the gun was it was in the car. She didn’t have the gun on her person so it was not an immediate threat, and if she went to retrieve it he would have a window of escape. So nice try son, but it fails AOJ on that alone.

Still, it’s paints an interesting twist. You might feel yourself the “good guy” and them the “bad guy”, but good people can make mistakes, and it could wind up costly. Rare is the self-defense incident that goes according to your notions and fantasies.

I’m sorry this happened to the store clerk and customers. They paid a small price – we can ensure that price was not paid in vain by learning and growing from the experience.

Day 333

It’s Day 333 of my 100 Day Challenge.

It’s not been good. There’ve been a number of things in life and simply put… life’s been tough.

I feel I’m climbing out. Returning to the discipline of this challenge is helping.

Read every day

I’ve really fallen off here. However, some things are changing that will soon have me reading more.


I’ve gotten back on this. In fact, I’m writing this post standing at my desk (instead of the default sitting). I wrote out a more complete program for myself, which includes some things on the floor for my lower back.

I’ve also made a rule to myself that I cannot skip anything in the routine. There’s nothing in the routine tho about time or sets-and-reps. If all I can do is a couple seconds in each position that’s fine so long as I get everything moved, stretched, opened up. Of course more time, more sets-reps, making sure I really lean into stretches to actually improve range is all ideal and what I should work to do, but sometimes life’s what it is. Still, I have to do it. If I can do it more than once a day, even better.

I attribute this alone to helping me get to a better place. My body feels better, more awake and alive.


Gym? No problem. I took a deload off, but it’s all just normal good stuff here.

Dry fire? Live fire? Not much… the toughness of life got me out of things. But TacCon23 is in a few weeks and I teach this weekend – that will help. I’ve been enjoying getting back out on the range, away from the computer, having my mind working on other problems. The wrist issues that continue to plague me haven’t helped either, but the LCR .22 experiment is fun.


This has been regression. It’s my classic problem of food being comfort, falling back into old habits.

One place I’ve been long unhappy with myself about is my afternoon shake. It’s just 60g of whey, it’s fast and easy to do – and that’s the thing! There’s no excuse for me not getting it down. But yet it happens. Why? Because of day job realities (e.g. wall-to-wall Zoom meetings). It’s not great because I have noticed my body is sensitive to it: missing it leads to missed gainz. I’ve recently been wondering how much bigger/better I would be today if I had been perfectly strict about my food intake over the past 10-15 years. Ah well… second best time is now. Well, this is like the bazillionth time, but try again I must. And so, I’ve been good about the whey and the difference is noticeable. Get your protein in every day!


I wasn’t doing well, but my monthly reminder to do a “100 day reflection” came up. I’m glad I set that, to keep the momentum going. It’s interesting that 100 days wasn’t enough to really make habit changes – it sowed a good seed tho, and I continue. I just cannot expect perfection, just improvement.

No B.S.

The other day someone told me a big reason people jive with me is because I keep it real.

There is no other way to be.

For… ever in my website bio I’ve said this:

I’m not one for bullshit. I do my best to not bullshit people, I don’t like to be bullshitted, and I generally don’t put up with bullshit. Life’s too short for games and bullshit. Be honest and straight with people.


I blame my Dad

I grew up the son of a politician – I still am.

He started in politics when I was 4 years old. It was from age 8 to 16 when Dad was a member of the US House of Representatives, but from 4-8 he was still running and campaigning (lost before he won). So from age 4 through graduating high school I had to do the “political family” thing.

Shooting TV commercials for Dad’s campaigns was cool to young me – all the cameras, “I’m going to be on TV!!” – until I had to act. It all felt so… fake, so “put-on-a-show” to me. Here we are supposed to show the world we’re this perfect happy family, when my Mom was just yelling at me, Dad was steamed, the kids were cranky… then the Director yells “ACTION!” and it’s all smiles and happy. SMILE DAMNIT! BE HAPPY!

It was revolting to me. It was such… lies. Lies to the world.

I’m sure that planted the seed.


People tell me I talk a lot. 

I can.

It’s not that I’m verbose – in the sense that I “run on” (tho I can).

It’s that I desire to share information.

I may “run on”, I may post a wall of text; afterwards you tend to not have questions. You are also filled with more information – historical, contextual – which enables you to make better, deeper, more understanding decisions and interpretations down the line. 

George Carlin once said something like “A soundbite. Just a bite. A morsel. Malnourishment.”

I want you to be nourished.